Repentance and Blessing
“Then I acknowledged my sin to you
And did not cover up my iniquity.
I said, “I will confess
My transgressions to the Lord” –
And you forgave
The guilt of my sin.”
“The sacrifices of God are a broken
A broken and contrite heart,
O God, you will not despise.”
Do you know the first thing that Jesus said when He preached the Gospel? It was, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near”.
The first thing John the Baptist also shouted out was, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near”. This proves how important repentance is.
Today, some religious denominations and people say that repentance is not needed. However, since the first thing Jesus said was that people should repent, we must realize how significant repentance is.
When one repents and believes in Jesus Christ, he receives eternal life and can enter heaven. Catastrophes are averted, all is well with the repentant’s soul and spirit and he receives sturdy blessings.
In the early ages, the great saints were those who went through the deep and meticulous process of repentance. You should never forget the fact that they lived daily lives of repentance.
One who realizes his sins but refuses to repent cannot be saved by God or effected by the blood of the Cross. Those who don’t repent are foolish; the more one tries to live a sincere and holy life, the more one will repent thoroughly. Therefore, among the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:4), is written, “ Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
Isaiah, the author of the “Book of Isaiah”, a “Gospel” of the Old Testament, acknowledged his sins when he was summoned and saw God. He said, lamenting, “ ‘Woe to me,’ ” I cried. ‘I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty. Then one of the seraphs flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar.’ ” Isaiah 6: 5-6. He then repented, and after being cleansed, became a prophet who witnessed to God’s Words powerfully.
Unless we repent, we will never help others repent. The words of one who repents deeply are like a double-edged sword in that they can penetrate even to dividing soul and spirit.
St. Augustine was so debauched that he sired a bastard at the early age of 14. But he came close to God’s Words and deeply repented, so that whenever desires of sin occurred in his mind, he would, while repenting his sins, bite his arms strongly.
Martin Luther once acknowledged and repented his sins so thoroughly that he fainted. Psalm 51:17 reads: “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart O God, you will not despise.”
I hope you believe God is pleased with one who acknowledges and repents his sins thoroughly with his broken heart.
Jesus once told a story about two persons praying in the temple. When they went in, the Pharisee prayed, looking up to heaven with upraised hands while crying “ ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men – robbers, evildoers, adulterers – or even like the tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ ” Luke 18:11-12. But the other, the tax collector, hardly entered the temple, and repented in sorrow, beating his chest with sunken head, lamenting, “ ‘God have mercy on me, a sinner.’ ” Luke 18:13. Jesus said the tax collector’s prayer was received by God. God didn’t listen to the prayers of the Pharisee, who did not know either his own humbleness or sins, but could only boast about himself. God is pleased with one who repents.
Brothers! One who has never experienced his deep repentance cannot bear the fruits of repentance. So, he easily turns from his faith when he is in a bad mood, and he stops coming to God when he becomes rich, although he was always with God when he was poor. This is because he hasn’t gone through the process of thorough repentance.
I hope you believe that you can have the confidence of your salvation, once you have had a true experience of repentance while shedding burning tears. One, who doesn’t go through the process of repentance, will forever remain chaff – and will never become pure wheat!
Christ is like a surgeon for souls. If one has pus deep within his body he must press it out, no matter how painful the surgery. In the same manner, if our souls decay and turn rotten through the pus of our evil sins, we must cleanse them and repent without any shyness. Then, true peace will come to us. No matter what kinds of sins cause your suffering, God will accept you, heal you of them and save you from them.
Jesus said, “Come to me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28. For, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick…For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Matthew 9:12-13.
Brothers! The kingdom of God is not for those who have no sin but for everyone who repents. So, Hell is not for those who have sinned but for people who don’t repent their sins.
Yet, there is no one in the world who is sinless. Jesus said, “There is no one righteous, not even one.” Romans 3:10. I hope you believe that whoever repents and believes in the Blood of Jesus with his mind can enter heaven. Maybe there is someone among you who confesses, “It’s too late for me to turn back to God. I’m a sinner who can never stand before God. I have a secret anguish and sin which I cannot confess.” However, believe that God forgives all, accepts and saves only those who repent and come back to Him, no matter how evil their sins.
So, Isaiah 1:18 reads: “Come now, let us reason together,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.”
If you repent, you will have the Grace and blessing of God.
1) Blessings of Eternal Life.
No matter how evil your sins, if you acknowledge that you are a sinner, repent your sins and confess that Jesus is the Son of God, who died on the Cross to redeem you for your sins, then you will have eternal life.
John 3:16 is a well known verse: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
It’s known that at Jesus’ crucifixion, the robber, who, before he died, repented and believed that Jesus was the Son of God, was saved.
2) Blessings of Communication With God for Those Who Repent.
The most truthfully blessed is the one who has no wall of sin between God and himself.
Isaiah 52:1-2 reads: “Awake, awake, O Zion, clothe yourself with strength. Put on your garments of splendor, O Jerusalem, the holy city. The uncircumcised and defiled will not enter you again. Shake off your dust; rise up, sit enthroned, O Jerusalem. Free yourself from the chains on your neck, O captive Daughter of Zion.”
Also, Psalm 66:18 says, “If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.”
If you don’t repent when you need to, your crying out “ Father! Father!” is useless.
Please remember that even a billionaire is the poorest person alive if he can’t have a proper relationship with God.
3) Blessings of the Grace of Restoration
Remember, one who doesn’t repent lives his life blocked and punished by God. He might be punished through disease, or materially or sometimes through his offspring. Therefore, to be restored, you must repent. I hope you believe that if you repent curses will be turned to blessings, diseases to restoration of health and failures to successes.
2 Chronicles 7:14 reads: “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” And Joel 2:12 and continuing verses read: “Even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.” “Who knows? He may turn and have pity and leave behind a blessing – grain offerings and drink offerings for the Lord your God.” 2:14. Not all your failures are caused by the price of your sins, but God restores you when you repent the sins for which He once punished you. 3 John 2 reads: “I pray that you may enjoy good health and all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.” When your soul is well through your repentance, everything in your life will be well with the fullness of God’s blessings. Then, what is true repentance?
i) Realize Your Sins and Grieve Over Them.
If you have sinned, you should be sad because of your sins, have a guilty conscience and grieve over them. If you have sinned, but don’t have a guilty conscience, and don’t grieve over your sins, but instead try to hide them, you will never live in the fullness of God’s grace.
If you have sinned, you should grieve over your sins, regret and hate them and feel a deep sense of sadness over them. You should offer repentant prayer before God.
ii) Turn From Your Sins
Isaiah 55:7 reads: “Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will freely pardon.” The most important acts of your true repentance are first, to stop sinning and then to turn away from the path of sin. If you keep committing the same lascivious sin over and over, you must turn from your sinful path and never commit the same sin any more. True repentance is to stop sinning and to turn from sin. Just as the prodigal son turned back to his father, we should turn back to God.
1 John 1:9 reads: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” When you repent your sins concretely and confess them to God, your true repentance is accomplished. Confession means that I acknowledge my sins to God and agree on His Will.
Psalm 32:5 says, “Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord’ – and you forgave the guilt of my sin.” Some people repent praying, “ God, if I have sins, please forgive all of them”. This is not a concrete and thorough repentance.
We should repent each of our sins thoroughly with our true hearts. One who says that he has no sin has no truth abiding in his heart. Do you still feel guilty though you repented alone? Then, I recommend you see a servant of God and confess and pray for your problems with him or her.
iv) Offer Compensation
John the Baptist said that we should bear fruits suitable for repentance. True repentance is to bear fruits for repentance. Luke 19 tells us about how Zacchaeus invited Jesus and repented before him saying, “If I have cheated anyone out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.” True repentance needs our action.
When we confess our sins before God and offer compensation to other people for the damage we have caused, then true repentance is accomplished.
Brothers! We should repent with our true hearts. But, there are things for which we cannot compensate others. For example, adultery - the seventh sin. I myself can be forgiven my sins through my repentance, but I can never compensate others for damage caused them by my leading them to commit sin. If we don’t stop or repent such sins thoroughly, we might commit the same sins repeatedly.
Therefore, we should repent thoroughly before God the sins for which we cannot compensate others, and never commit them again.
Avoid hidden desires and thoughts, for these are also sins. God blesses those who strive to avoid. We should repent with our true hearts. God forgives us any sin when we repent truthfully. When you grieve over your sins and repent them before God thoroughly even once, your relation with God becomes firmly set. We can hide nothing before God. God is aware of each of our sins and watches us with His burning gaze. God is waiting for us to realize our faults, repent the sins which arise from them and turn back to Him.
Beloved brothers! Repent your sins and turn back to God NOW and He will be pleased with you. I pray that you believe that God forgives your sins and blesses you when you acknowledge your sins and repent them before Him.